Café Mozart Dreamin’ by Tracey Meloni

Judie bangs on my hotel door. “The dressmaker is here! Hurry! You have Christmas lunch with Noah at Café Mozart at 1PM!”

I let them in – the dressmaker is very short and very fat, dressed in shiny black, a mouth full of pins. She rips off my robe and pins me into a short, clingy white Go-Go style dress, very retro. Judie lines my eyes in thick black. “Let’s go!”

But I am only pinned – this can’t be real. The REAL Judie, is my most timid friend, never urging me to undertake the wacky.

I can’t find my keys – and once in the hallway I can’t remember my room number – and I have no purse, no ID! How will I get back in?

“Look!” says Judie. ” It’s your ex! He will help us.”

I haven’t got an “ex,” but this man looks just like Jimmy, my late husband, hazel eyes, sandy hair, square and gentle hands. Nothing bad can happen if he is around.

We step out into – snow! I am wearing only the flimsy white dress. “You’ll be fine – pretend you have the matching boots,” says Judie. She hails a cab – the driver says he can only take us to Union Station and hands us a huge stack of maps.

“Ya goin’ to Café Mozart? They have great Christmas strata!”

He dumps us at Union Station – the snow is now up to my knees – and Jimmy is gone! And it is already 1:30.

“Do I know this Noah? Will he wait?” I ask Judie – but she, too, is gone.

I am alone, dropping pins, in the filthy grey snow.

Tracey Edgerly Meloni comes from the Lake District village of Ravenstonedale, Cumbria. A self-described “Diplo-Brat,” she grew up wherever her parents were assigned – France, Germany, Africa, Texas. She attended Boston University, where she met her husband. Meloni won a short story contest as a teenager and just kept on writing. Formerly press secretary and protocol officer in Washington, DC, she wrote a weekly travel column for several now-defunct newspapers, contributes regularly to several magazines and writes about worldwide health and travel.

She is owned by a rowdy tribe of Scotties and praises the day she found flash. These days she lives in Pennsylvania.

Vintage photo of a snowman with his arms around a woman's waste
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